6 Romantic First Anniversary Ideas, Because You Never Forget Your First

There are a multitude of anniversaries that are considered especially meaningful. Your wedding anniversary is obviously momentous, as is your five-year anniversary and 10-year anniversary. If you’re nostalgic, like me, the anniversary of your first date always has a special place in your heart. And then, of course, there’s the one-year, which is definitely worth celebrating. The only question? How to celebrate. The most romantic first anniversary ideas are the ones that take your one-of-a-kind story and specific preferences as a couple into account.

Spending an entire year with someone is significant: It means you’ve learned a lot about each other, you’ve seen some of each other’s flaws, you’ve potentially worked through a problem together, and you’ve definitely had your first fight. And regardless (or because) of all of that, your bond is probably stronger than ever. One thing’s for sure: There are so many unique ways to celebrate that go beyond dinner at a lavish restaurant. Ultimately, what will make your one-year anniversary most romantic is if it includes special touches that pay homage to your unique bond. It should be a plan that only has the potential to bring you both even closer — and perhaps present the opportunity for some Instagram-worthy photos. But guess what? If you plan the perfect date to celebrate your first anniversary, there’s a good chance you’ll be so caught up in the moment that you forget to whip out your phone.

Strapped for first anniversary ideas? Here’s some inspiration to get you started.

Plan A Relaxing Staycation

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Confession: This has been one of my go-to moves with my boyfriend, and I suspect it’s an idea we will return to again and again. If you and bae are dying to get away from it all, but don’t have the time or funds to book travel arrangements, a staycation provides the perfect solution. You’ll still get all of the romance and excitement that comes with staying in a new environment together, but you won’t have to worry about dealing with airport hassles and expensive tickets.

Do some research on hotels, resorts, and bed and breakfast inns that are drivable or easily accessible by public transportation. Pro tip: Filter out accommodations by the amenities that might come in handy during your anniversary celebration, like a swimming pool, on-site spa, or room service. You can book one night or three — it all comes down to what your budgets and schedules allow for. Oh, and don’t forget to bring the bubbly and other romance-boosting extras so you can keep the anniversary celebrations going.

Recreate The First Date

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Is there anything more romantic than going back in time to where your story began? Whether it was cold brews at a coffee shop, an indulgent dinner at your favorite restaurant, dancing that downtown music club’s soul night, or a random run-in at a farmer’s market, going back to the location of your first date is bound to inspire some serious nostalgia, and a flood of positive memories. It may even reignite the spark and renew some of your excitement around the relationship.

If you’ve moved away, the business closed down, or it’s otherwise impossible to revisit the exact location of your first date, you can still recreate the magic. For example, if you went bowling, just find another candlepin joint to tear up the lanes at. Or, if you went for a walk in the park, find a different scenic spot to take a romantic stroll.

Hit The Road

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Do you and bae have a down-for-whatever attitude? Then there’s hardly a better way to celebrate your one-year anniversary than by taking a road trip together. Pick out a city or specific attraction that’s drivable for you (whether it’s an award-winning restaurant you saw on TV or a museum you read about), devise a killer playlist, and prepare to make some meaningful new memories together.

A road trip presents the opportunity for a lot of bonding time along the journey, and you’ll also be able to explore somewhere new together once you arrive at your destination.

Have An Indoor Or Outdoor Picnic

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There’s something innately charming about a picnic: With no distractions and no chairs, you and your boo can have a no-frills feast together in nature and simply enjoy some quality time together.

If it's warm out, feel free to take your picnic to the beach, a park, or even a secluded area in a nearby forest. On the other hand, if your anniversary falls during the colder months, you can have an indoor picnic. After packing a basket with some gourmet bites (like a cheese or charcuterie board, pesto pasta salad, sandwiches, and fresh fruit), simply spread out a blanket in your living room and light some candles. The best part? You don’t have to worry about getting home after downing a couple of glasses of sauvignon blanc.

Pick Up Some New Culinary Skills

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A one-year anniversary is the perfect time to pick up a few new skills together. So why not take a cooking class? Find one that will coach you through making cuisine that lines up with your tastes, whether it’s a seafood-focused session, a paella-making workshop, or a class on vegetarian meals. Or, you could consider a mixology class instead if you’re interested in learning how to whip up classic cocktails (which will no doubt impress your friends at your next house party). A cooking or mixology class is the gift that keeps on giving: Not only will you get to taste your own creations the night of the class, but you’ll also have some newfound knowledge that you can put to use on future date nights.

Get Curious

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When you’ve been together for one year, it feels like you already know so much about your SO. But the reality is, there’s still plenty more to learn — and that’s the fun part, TBH. You can get to know each other better by asking each other The New York Times "36 Questions That Lead To Love." The questions are inspired by Mandy Len Catron’s popular Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” in which she cites a psychological study that explores whether you can instantly ramp up the bond between two strangers by having them ask a specific set of very personal questions. Each of the three sets of questions becomes increasingly more revealing, so go into the process with an open mind. If you can be vulnerable and honest with each other, you may be surprised at how much this romantic little interview can enhance your intimacy.

There is no ideal way to spend your first year anniversary because ultimately, the perfect plan depends on you and your partner’s particular interests and the nature of your connection. Any of these ideas are bound to boost the romance — but at the end of the day, the most important thing is to merely spend quality time with each other, and to show your appreciation for each other. The best way to do that is to put your phones away, eliminate any distractions, and focus on the present moment. If you can do that, you’ll no doubt have a meaningful, memorable celebration.